"In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

Posts Tagged ‘Slavery’

“Counterevolution of 1776” : Was U.S. “War Of Indepencence” A Colonial American Revolt To Retain Slave System?

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Oldspeak: “We should understand that July 4th, 1776, in many ways, represents a counterrevolution. That is to say that what helped to prompt July 4th, 1776, was the perception amongst European settlers on the North American mainland that London was moving rapidly towards abolition. This perception was prompted by Somerset’s case, a case decided in London in June 1772 which seemed to suggest that abolition, which not only was going to be ratified in London itself, was going to cross the Atlantic and basically sweep through the mainland, thereby jeopardizing numerous fortunes, not only based upon slavery, but the slave trade. That’s the short answer.

The longer answer would involve going back to another revolution—that is to say, the so-called Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, which, among other things, involved a step back from the monarch—for the monarch, the king, and a step forward for the rising merchant class. This led to a deregulation of the African slave trade. That is to say, the Royal African Company theretofore had been in control of the slave trade, but with the rising power of the merchant class, this slave trade was deregulated, leading to what I call free trade in Africans. That is to say, merchants then descended upon the African continent manacling and handcuffing every African in sight, with the energy of demented and crazed bees, dragging them across the Atlantic, particularly to the Caribbean and to the North American mainland. This was prompted by the fact that the profits for the slave trade were tremendous, sometimes up to 1,600 or 1,700 percent. And as you know, there are those even today who will sell their firstborn for such a profit. This, on the one hand, helped to boost the productive forces both in the Caribbean and on the mainland, but it led to numerous slave revolts, not least in the Caribbean, but also on the mainland, which helped to give the mainlanders second thoughts about London’s tentative steps towards abolition.” -Professor Gerald Horne

“Some interesting little known history to pierce the gauzy hologram of propaganda filled myths that are reasserted every July 4th.  The American revolution was about Americans declaring their independence to continue enslaving black people even when the British, who helped start the “peculiar institution” abolished it in England. i see fascinating parallels between that sordid time and this one.  A small  landed gentry making obscene profits from the vastly undervalued labor of millions of poor and disadvantaged people, compelled to work, upon pain of various punishments (physical violence, mental abuse, starvation, homelessness, poverty). Significant and growing percentages of the poor population under “state supervision” in a sprawling and profitable prison/slave industrial complex. Revolts among the slave classes protesting their enslavement and abuse. Another iteration of  “Free Trade” agreements are being secretly negotiated and signed that have zero consideration for any human persons. Corporate persons benefit only. Humans have been reduced to ‘capital’ and ‘resources’, to be managed, exploited, exhausted, and profited from. I wonder how today’s slavers will respond when the world’s brutalized and enslaved masses rise up and throw off their chains? My guess is it won’t be pretty, the spate of small skirmishes we’ve witnessed over the past 40 years have just been a primer. The controllers know the next crash is the last crash. They’re fanatically racing to secure resources before the coming collapse. Alas, the ‘free market’ will bring about the end of the world as we know it. Not necessarily a bad thing in my view. We as a species are terminally out of balance with our Great Mother. We need to come back into balance with her before we meet our demise.” -OSJ

By Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez @ Democracy Now:

As the United States prepares to celebrate Independence Day, we look at why July 4 is not a cause for celebration for all. For Native Americans, it may be a bitter reminder of colonialism, which brought fatal diseases, cultural hegemony and genocide. Neither did the new republic’s promise of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” extend to African Americans. The colonists who declared their freedom from England did not share their newly founded liberation with the millions of Africans they had captured and forced into slavery. We speak with historian Gerald Horne, who argues the so-called Revolutionary War was actually a conservative effort by American colonists to protect their system of slavery. He is the author of two new books: “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America” and “Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow.” Horne is professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston.

 

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman in Chicago with our next guest. Juan González is in New York.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, next weekend, the United States celebrates the Fourth of July, the day the American colonies declared their independence from England in 1776. While many Americans will hang flags, participate in parades and watch fireworks, Independence Day is not a cause for celebration for all. For Native Americans, it is yet another bitter reminder of colonialism, which brought fatal diseases, cultural hegemony and full-out genocide. Neither did the new republic’s promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness extend to African Americans. As our next guest notes, the white colonists who declared their freedom from the crown did not share their newly founded liberation with the millions of Africans they had captured and forced into slavery.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Gerald Horne argues that the so-called Revolutionary War was actually a counterrevolution, in part, not a progressive step forward for humanity, but a conservative effort by American colonialists to protect their system of slavery.

For more, Professor Horne joins us here in our Chicago studio. He’s the author of two new books: The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America and another new book, just out, Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. Professor Horne teaches history and African American studies at the University of Houston.

Welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us. So, as we move into this Independence Day week, what should we understand about the founding of the United States?

GERALD HORNE: We should understand that July 4th, 1776, in many ways, represents a counterrevolution. That is to say that what helped to prompt July 4th, 1776, was the perception amongst European settlers on the North American mainland that London was moving rapidly towards abolition. This perception was prompted by Somerset’s case, a case decided in London in June 1772 which seemed to suggest that abolition, which not only was going to be ratified in London itself, was going to cross the Atlantic and basically sweep through the mainland, thereby jeopardizing numerous fortunes, not only based upon slavery, but the slave trade. That’s the short answer.

The longer answer would involve going back to another revolution—that is to say, the so-called Glorious Revolution in England in 1688, which, among other things, involved a step back from the monarch—for the monarch, the king, and a step forward for the rising merchant class. This led to a deregulation of the African slave trade. That is to say, the Royal African Company theretofore had been in control of the slave trade, but with the rising power of the merchant class, this slave trade was deregulated, leading to what I call free trade in Africans. That is to say, merchants then descended upon the African continent manacling and handcuffing every African in sight, with the energy of demented and crazed bees, dragging them across the Atlantic, particularly to the Caribbean and to the North American mainland. This was prompted by the fact that the profits for the slave trade were tremendous, sometimes up to 1,600 or 1,700 percent. And as you know, there are those even today who will sell their firstborn for such a profit. This, on the one hand, helped to boost the productive forces both in the Caribbean and on the mainland, but it led to numerous slave revolts, not least in the Caribbean, but also on the mainland, which helped to give the mainlanders second thoughts about London’s tentative steps towards abolition.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Gerald Horne, one of the things that struck me in your book is not only your main thesis, that this was in large part a counterrevolution, our—the United States’ war of independence, but you also link very closely the—what was going on in the Caribbean colonies of England, as well as in the United States, not only in terms of among the slaves in both areas, but also among the white population. And, in fact, you indicate that quite a few of those who ended up here in the United States fostering the American Revolution had actually been refugees from the battles between whites and slaves in the Caribbean. Could you expound on that?

GERALD HORNE: It’s well known that up until the middle part of the 18th century, London felt that the Caribbean colonies—Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, in particular—were in some ways more valuable than the mainland colonies. The problem was that in the Caribbean colonies the Africans outnumbered the European settlers, sometimes at a rate of 20 to one, which facilitated slave revolts. There were major slave revolts in Antigua, for example, in 1709 and 1736. The Maroons—that is to say, the Africans who had escaped London’s jurisdiction in Jamaica—had challenged the crown quite sternly. This led, as your question suggests, to many European settlers in the Caribbean making the great trek to the mainland, being chased out of the Caribbean by enraged Africans. For example, I did research for this book in Newport, Rhode Island, and the main library there, to this very day, is named after Abraham Redwood, who fled Antigua after the 1736 slave revolt because many of his, quote, “Africans,” unquote, were involved in the slave revolt. And he fled in fear and established the main library in Newport, to this very day, and helped to basically establish that city on the Atlantic coast. So, there is a close connection between what was transpiring in the Caribbean and what was taking place on the mainland. And historians need to recognize that even though these colonies were not necessarily a unitary project, there were close and intimate connections between and amongst them.

AMY GOODMAN: So, why this great disparity between how people in the United States talk about the creation myth of the United States, if you will—I’m not talking about indigenous people, Native American people—and this story that you have researched?

GERALD HORNE: Well, it is fair to say that the United States did provide a sanctuary for Europeans. Indeed, I think part of the, quote, “genius,” unquote, of the U.S. project, if there was such a genius, was the fact that the founders in the United States basically called a formal truce, a formal ceasefire, with regard to the religious warfare that had been bedeviling Europe for many decades and centuries—that is to say, Protestant London, so-called, versus Catholic Madrid and Catholic France. What the settlers on the North American mainland did was call a formal truce with regard to religious conflict, but then they opened a new front with regard to race—that is to say, Europeans versus non-Europeans.

This, at once, broadened the base for the settler project. That is to say, they could draw upon those defined as white who had roots from the Atlantic to the Ural Mountains, and indeed even to the Arab world, if you look at people like Ralph Nader and Marlo Thomas, for example, whose roots are in Lebanon but are considered to be, quote, “white,” unquote. This obviously expanded the population base for the settler project. And because many rights were then accorded to these newly minted whites, it obviously helped to ensure that many of them would be beholden to the country that then emerged, the United States of America, whereas those of us who were not defined as white got the short end of the stick, if you like.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Gerald Horne, as a result of that, during the American Revolution, what was the perception or the attitude of the African slaves in the U.S. to that conflict? You also—you talk about, during the colonial times, many slaves preferred to flee to the Spanish colonies or the French colonies, rather than to stay in the American colonies of England.

GERALD HORNE: You are correct. The fact of the matter is, is that Spain had been arming Africans since the 1500s. And indeed, because Spain was arming Africans and then unleashing them on mainland colonies, particularly South Carolina, this put competitive pressure on London to act in a similar fashion. The problem there was, is that the mainland settlers had embarked on a project and a model of development that was inconsistent with arming Africans. Indeed, their project was involved in enslaving and manacling every African in sight. This deepens the schism between the colonies and the metropolis—that is to say, London—thereby helping to foment a revolt against British rule in 1776.

It’s well known that more Africans fought alongside of the Redcoats—fought alongside the Redcoats than fought with the settlers. And this is understandable, because if you think about it for more than a nanosecond, it makes little sense for slaves to fight alongside slave masters so that slave masters could then deepen the persecution of the enslaved and, indeed, as happened after 1776, bring more Africans to the mainland, bring more Africans to Cuba, bring more Africans to Brazil, for their profit.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to historian Gerald Horne. He’s author of two new books. We’re talking about The Counter-Revolution of 1776. The subtitle of that book is Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America. And his latest book, just out, is called Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. He’s professor of history and African American studies at University of Houston. When we come back, we’ll talk about that second book about Cuba. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: “Slavery Days” by Burning Spear, here on Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman in Chicago. Juan González is in New York. Before we talk about the book on slavery, I want to turn to President Obama’s remarks at the White House’s Fourth of July celebration last year. This is how President Obama described what happened in 1776.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal, free to think and worship and live as we please, that our destiny would not be determined for us, it would be determined by us. And it was bold, and it was brave. And it was unprecedented. It was unthinkable. At that time in human history, it was kings and princes and emperors who made decisions. But those patriots knew there was a better way of doing things, that freedom was possible, and that to achieve their freedom, they’d be willing to lay down their lives, their fortune and their honor. And so they fought a revolution. And few would have bet on their side. But for the first time of many times to come, America proved the doubters wrong. And now, 237 years later, this improbable experiment in democracy, the United States of America, stands as the greatest nation on Earth.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: That was President Obama talking about the meaning of July 4th. Gerald Horne, your book, The Counter-Revolution of 1776, is a direct rebuttal of this, as you call, creation myth. Could you talk about that?

GERALD HORNE: Well, with all due respect to President Obama, I think that he represents, in those remarks you just cited, the consensus view. That is to say that, on the one hand, there is little doubt that 1776 represented a step forward with regard to the triumph over monarchy. The problem with 1776 was that it went on to establish what I refer to as the first apartheid state. That is to say, the rights that Mr. Obama refers to were accorded to only those who were defined as white. To that degree, I argue in the book that 1776, in many ways, was analogous to Unilateral Declaration of Independence in the country then known as Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in November 1965. UDI, Unilateral Declaration of Independence, was in many ways an attempt to forestall decolonization. 1776, in many ways, was an attempt to forestall the abolition of slavery. That attempt succeeded until the experiment crashed and burned in 1861 with the U.S. Civil War, the bloodiest conflict, to this point, the United States has ever been involved in.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Gerald Horne, how does this story, this, what you call, counterrevolution, fit in with your latest book, Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow?

GERALD HORNE: Well, there’s a certain consistency between the two books. Keep in mind that in 1762 Britain temporarily seized Cuba from Spain. And one of the regulations that Britain imposed outraged the settlers, as I argue in both books. What happened was that Britain sought to regulate the slave trade, and the settlers on the North American mainland wanted deregulation of the slave trade, thereby bringing in more Africans. What happens is that that was one of the points of contention that lead to a detonation and a revolt against British rule in 1776.

I go on in the Cuba book to talk about how one of the many reasons why you have so many black people in Cuba was because of the manic energy of U.S. slave traders and slave dealers, particularly going into the Congo River Basin and dragging Africans across the Atlantic. Likewise, I had argued in a previous book on the African slave trade to Brazil that one of the many reasons why you have so many black people in Brazil, more than any place outside of Nigeria, is, once again, because of the manic energy of U.S. slave traders and slave dealers, who go into Angola, in particular, and drag Africans across the Atlantic to Brazil.

It seems to me that it’s very difficult to reconcile the creation myth of this great leap forward for humanity when, after 1776 and the foundation of the United States of America, the United States ousts Britain from control of the African slave trade. Britain then becomes the cop on the beat trying to detain and deter U.S. slave traders and slave dealers. It seems to me that if this was a step forward for humanity, it was certainly not a step forward for Africans, who, the last time I looked, comprise a significant percentage of humanity.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Gerald Horne, so, in other words, as you’re explaining the involvement of American companies in the slave trade in Brazil and Cuba, this—that book and also your The Counter-Revolution of 1776 makes the same point that slavery was not just an issue of interest in the South to the Southern plantation owners, but that in the North, banking, insurance, merchants, shipping were all involved in the slave trade, as well.

GERALD HORNE: Well, Juan, as you well know, New York City was a citadel of the African slave trade, even after the formal abolition of the U.S. role in the African slave trade in 1808. Rhode Island was also a center for the African slave trade. Ditto for Massachusetts. Part of the unity between North and South was that it was in the North that the financing for the African slave trade took place, and it was in the South where you had the Africans deposited. That helps to undermine, to a degree, the very easy notion that the North was abolitionist and the South was pro-slavery.

AMY GOODMAN: So, Gerald Horne, what most surprised you in your research around Cuba, U.S. slavery and Jim Crow?

GERALD HORNE: Well, what most surprised me with regard to both of these projects was the restiveness, the rebelliousness of the Africans involved. It’s well known that the Africans in the Caribbean were very much involved in various extermination plots, liquidation plots, seeking to abolish, through force of arms and violence, the institution of slavery. Unfortunately, I think that historians on the North American mainland have tended to downplay the restiveness of Africans, and I think it’s done a disservice to the descendants of the population of mainland enslaved Africans. That is to say that because the restiveness of Africans in the United States has been downplayed, it leads many African Americans today to either, A, think that their ancestors were chumps—that is to say, that they fought alongside slave owners to bring more freedom to slave owners and more persecution to themselves—or, B, that they were ciphers—that is to say, they stood on the sidelines as their fate was being determined. I think that both of these books seek to disprove those very unfortunate notions.

AMY GOODMAN: So, as we move into the Independence Day weekend next weekend, what do you say to people in the United States?

GERALD HORNE: What I say to the people in the United States is that you have proved that you can be very critical of what you deem to be revolutionary processes. You have a number of scholars and intellectuals who make a good living by critiquing the Cuban Revolution of 1959, by critiquing the Russian Revolution of 1917, by critiquing the French Revolution of the 18th century, but yet we get the impression that what happened in 1776 was all upside, which is rather far-fetched, given what I’ve just laid out before you in terms of how the enslaved African population had their plight worsened by 1776, not to mention the subsequent liquidation of independent Native American polities as a result of 1776. I think that we need a more balanced presentation of the foundation of the United States of America, and I think that there’s no sooner place to begin than next week with July 4th, 2014.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Gerald Horne, I want to thank you very much for being with us. Historian Gerald Horne is author of two new books: The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America as well as Race to Revolution: The U.S. and Cuba During Slavery and Jim Crow. He’s a professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston.

Christopher Columbus & His Crimes Against Humanity

In Uncategorized on October 11, 2010 at 10:55 am

Oldspeak: “Motivated by greed, apocalyptic christianity and lust for wealth and power… Christopher Columbus went forth into the world and made a mess of millions of innocent peoples lives. “

From Winter Rabbit @ Native American Netroots:

The Christian Crusades had ended in 1291, the Black Death had been deliberately blamed on innocent Jews who said what their Christian torturers forced them to, that they poisoned water wells, causing the Black Death.
Of course, the real cause was in the stomachs of fleas, not planetary alignment, earthquakes, or God’s Judgment. Nonetheless, the extermination of European Jews began in 1348 again, along with a key notorious origin of Manifest Destiny. 

Source

But no sooner had the plague ceased than we saw the contrary . . . [People] gave themselves up to a more shameful and disordered life than they had led before…. Men thought that, by reason of the fewness of mankind, there should be abundance of all produce of the land; yet, on the contrary, by reason of men’s ingratitude, everything came to unwonted scarcity and remained long thus; nay, in certain countries.

Christopher Columbus was born in 1451, barely over a century later in the city – state of Genoa, Italy after the newest Christian Campaign to exterminate the European Jews. Columbus educated himself, and his father was a wool merchant (3). Columbus was a map maker and a sailor in his forties; consequently, he knew that the world was round. What were three of the motivations that led him to set sail on August 3, 1492 on the Pinta, the Nina, and the Santa Maria from the “Southern Spanish port of Palos?” Greed for gold, capitalistic greed through the potential of wealth through the slave trade, and the religious beliefs of Apocalyptic Christianity were three primary motivations Columbus had for setting sail; consequently, which fueled genocide against tens of millions of Indigenous People.

One of Columbus’s motivations was greed for gold, which he acquired on the Gold Coast in the Portuguese colony (3).

Christopher Columbus: The Untold StoryChristopher Columbus:

“Gold is most excellent; gold is treasure, and he who possesses it does all he wishes to in this world.” [2]

Another of Columbus’s motives for making the journey was his capitalistic greed through the potential of wealth through the slave trade, which resulted in more and more slavery because of the desire for sugar and led to the atrocities of the Middle Passage.

SourceSugar cane was the number one crop that produced the growth for Europe. It was brought to the New World from Spain by Christopher Columbus, later shipped to the rest of Europe. The growing sugar industry called for the usage of African slaves. Also the African slave labor and the plantations are what formed the Americas. The work that was performed on the plantations which, produced large quantities of sugar, created an even greater need for slaves, by the enslaved Africans brought to the Atlantic World by the Middle Passage.

Here is a map that provides a good overview.The religious beliefs of Apocalyptic Christianity were yet another one of Columbus’ motivations for setting sail; consequently, it was the most illogical motivation he possessed. For his greed for gold could be coldly construed as a more practical reason, except for all of the Indigenous People he would in the future have to exterminate to get it, which he probably did not yet know of at the time. He had only ventured to the Gold Coast. His use of the slave trade for monetary gain was illogical enough, for it denied the very humanity of the African People and the Indigenous People that he would force into slavery; however, his beliefs regarding Apocalyptic Christianity were projected outwards towards the entire world.

SourceDuring those same long centuries they had further expressed their ruthless intolerance of all persons and thugs that were non-Christian by conducting pogroms against the Jews who lived among them and whom they regarded as the embodiment of the Antichrist imposing torture exile and mass destruction on those who refused to succumb to evangelical persuasion.

Columbus was possessed with the obsession that Christ would return only if the Gospel was spread far and wide. Apocalyptic Christianity taught him: that either a savior in human form would prepare the way for Christ to return in the midst of a war between good and evil and history would end; or, that after the earth suffers dire consequences, evil would increase while love would decrease, then Christ would return with the Final Judgment and end history; or, that a period of peace would precede the Final Judgment. During this “period of peace,” the Jews would be converted, while “the heathens would be either converted or annihilated.” I think the latter best reflects Columbus’s personal view of Apocalyptic Christianity. I will state why after a couple less known facts in order to set up a contrast.

The Indigenous People very well may have had a much better future then and history now if Christopher Columbus had perished in the Atlantic on February 14, 1493. Forthe first European to land in America was Leif Ericson, a Viking seaman from Greenland (see Ericson). The ancient sagas give different accounts of this voyage made in the year 1000.

As for contacts of New World peoples with Europe, the sole early ones involved the Norse who occupied Greenland in very small numbers between A.D. 986 and about 1500. But these Norse visits had no discernible impact on Native American societies. (2)

The Norse left “no discernable impact.” I cannot answer why that is, except to note that Viking voyages decreased and ended during the slow process of the Christianization of Scandinavia. So by contrast, Columbus had an enormous impact that is more far reaching than he could have imagined. Ironic indeed, since he grossly underestimated the earth’s size prior to setting sail. For example, “He thought that Japan lay only three thousand miles from the southern European Coast (3).” He may then have also grossly underestimated the sheer mass numbers of Indigenous Population in the lands he did not first discover in the Americas. No matter though, for such “heathens” would either have to be “converted or annihilated.”

To be sure, the real annihilations did not start until the beginning of Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas in 1493 (1). For while he had expressed admiration for the overall generosity of Indigenous People (1) and considered the Tainos to be “Very handsome, gentle, and friendly,” he interpreted all these positive traits as signs of weakness and vulnerability, saying “if devout religious persons knew the Indian Language well, all these people would soon become Christians (3).” As a consequence, he kidnapped some of the Tainos and took them back to Spain.

It would be easy, he asserted, to “subject everyone and make them do what you wished (3).”

Indeed, he did subject everyone he had the power to subject.

SourceOn his second voyage, in December 1494, Columbus captured 1,500 Tainos on the island of Hispaniola and herded them to Isabela, where 550 of ”the best males and females” were forced aboard ships bound for the slave markets of Seville.

Under Columbus’s leadership, the Spanish attacked the Taino, sparing neither men, women nor children. Warfare, forced labor, starvation and disease reduced Hispaniola’s Taino population (estimated at one million to two million in 1492) to extinction within 30 years.

Furthermore, Columbus wrote a letter to the Spanish governor of the island, Hispaniola. Columbus asked the governor the cut off the ears and the noses of any of the slaves who resisted being subjugated to slavery.

…It is estimated that 100 million Indians from the Caribbean, Central, South, and North America perished at the hands of the European invaders. Sadly, unbelievably, really, much of that wholesale destruction was sanctioned and carried out by the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations. (1: p. 37)

Greed for gold, capitalistic greed through the potential of wealth through the slave trade, and the religious beliefs of Apocalyptic Christianity were three primary motivations Columbus had for setting sail. He was successful in his aims, which fueled genocide against tens of millions of Indigenous People. He was successful in promoting and aiding in establishing slavery by bringing sugar to Europe and to the New World from Spain, which created the evil necessity in the eyes of some of humanity’s greatest criminals for the Middle Passage, where slaves packed like cargo between decks often had to lie in each other’s feces, urine, and blood.

Columbus’ “successes,” all crimes against humanity, are now more so in these modern times. A day is now in his honor since 1971 (4). That’s one success. Here are more of Columbus’ “successes” from a book I highly recommend buying.

Unlearning the Language of Conquest: Scholars Expose Anti-Indianism in America (Paperback) by Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs) (Editor). p. 237.As Moyers pointed out, this “mentality” and blind acceptance of biblical inerrancy, which contributed to the genocide of American Indians during Columbus’ time, has, in many ways, continued and continues to inform U.S. foreign policy, including its dealings with its own sovereign Indian Nations.

Christopher Columbus: The Untold Story“We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do all the harm and damage that we can.” [11]

Source

Mark Twain:

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

http://64.38.12.138/News/2010/…“”They treat us just like guinea pigs when it comes to Indian Health Services.” That’s how one woman on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation described the birth of her second child. She is not alone. Today, the ACLU and the ACLU of South Dakota filed a Freedom of Information of Act (FOIA) lawsuit against Indian Health Services (IHS), seeking information about the provision of reproductive health care services to the women of the Cheyenne River Sioux.

– snip –

Many women report that they are being told to forgo natural labor and delivery, and instead accept medication to induce labor, either on or before their due dates, at a time selected exclusively by their doctor. They are given little or no counseling – indeed, many women say that the first time their doctor spoke to them about induction of labor was on the day they were induced.

Sources:

(1): Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” pp. 49-57.

(2): Jared Diamond. “Guns, Germs, And Steel.” pp. 67, 79.

(3): Norton. Katzman. Escott. Chudacoff. Paterson. Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” pp. 20 – 23.

(4): Four Arrows (Don Trent Jacobs). “Unlearning the Language of Conquest.” pp. 20, 236, 31, 275.


 

A Second Slave Rebellion In Haiti: What’s The Worth Of A Haitian Child?

In Uncategorized on August 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Tens of thousands of children left abandoned and orphaned since the earthquake are at risk of becoming slaves. (Photo: Tory Field)

Oldspeak:”It is telling that four new free enterprise zones have been created since the earthquake. Both Bill Clinton, who is the special envoy to Haiti from the U.N., and Hillary Clinton, of course in her role as Secretary of State, have said that the assembly industry is the linchpin of the reconstruction plan. And yet the sweat shop workers earn $3.09 a day, which is not a livable wage, work in often terrible conditions, and are forced to live in terrible conditions as well. Many of the people who died in the earthquake were sweatshop workers who could not afford better housing than temporary makeshift structures that were on top of each other, that were on the sides of hills, that were completely unstable, which is why up to 300,000 people died during this earthquake. So, to base a reconstruction plan on the expansion of an economic sector that already has failed the people, and which is based on transient capital that can and will pick up at any given moment to move to where jobs are cheaper, is not a good solution for Haiti.”

From  Beverly Bell & Tory Field @ Truthout:

One of the many effects of poverty in Haiti is that desperate parents regularly give away their children in the hope that the new family will feed and educate the children better than they themselves can. Instead, the children usually end up as child slaves, or restavèk. In a country which overthrew slavery in 1804, today anywhere from 225,000 to 300,000 children live in forced servitude.[1] They work from before sunup to after sundown, are often sexually and physically abused and usually go underfed and uneducated. (For more information, see “Slavery in Haiti, Again.”)

The numbers are soon likely to explode due to the hundreds of thousands of children left orphaned or abandoned by the earthquake. Guerda Constant with Fondasyon Limyè Lavi, the Light of Life Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending the child bondage system, said, “I can’t figure out what kind of future this country will have with so many kids in the street right now, without parents.”

Guerda’s organization is among a small, but growing network, which is committed to abolishing slavery and to ensuring that all Haitian children receive love, care and education. Many strategies are at work towards these ends.

The first is to get the government to pass a law prohibiting child slavery and prosecuting those who keep slaves. Haitian law outlaws forced labor, but restavèk labor is, in practice, condoned. It is not investigated, prosecuted or punished.[2] A June 2009 UN press release concerning restavèk noted the “absence of comprehensive legislation protecting the rights of the child” and “the weakness of the judicial system in ensuring prosecution, fair trail and adequate punishment of perpetrators.”[3]

A bill which would outlaw trafficking of adults and children, both across the border and within the country, has been in the hands of the Parliament for some time. The International Organization for Migration and other organizations worked with the government to ensure that the language of the bill met international norms. But the bill has not yet been voted on and the Parliament has been inactive since it turned power over to an international commission in mid-April.

Guerda said, “It’s important that the government make a political decision on this situation. We need a law and a national plan [of implementation]. Then many NGOs who want to work on child protection in Haiti could know what to do and how to do it.”

And Malya Villard, co-coordinator of the Commission of Women Victim to Victim (KOFAVIV), a children’s and women’s rights organization, said, “Everyone who does violence against a girl or a child should be judged and condemned. We have to have a state that has justice so it can put an end to this. If the state doesn’t take responsibility, nothing will change.”

A second strategy includes educating parents about exactly what may happen to the children they give away. Helia Lajeunesse, a rights advocate with KOFAVIV, says, “We encourage parents in the countryside who think they’re doing their child a favor to do everything within their means not to give their child into servitude.”

A third strategy is to change national awareness about the rights of children, which are not universally recognized in Haiti. Malya said, “Children are an object, garbage, for many people.”

Today in Port-au-Prince, a few billboards sponsored by national and international organizations show cartoons of a sad little girl scrubbing a floor; a thought bubble above her head shows her merrily headed to school. Last May, the Restavèk Freedom Foundation hosted a national “I am Haiti Too” conference, which brought together more than 500 people, the largest such meeting to date.

One level at which the awareness campaign operates is with the families who have restavèk in their homes. The Restavèk Freedom Foundation, for example, hosts meetings to dialog with families who keep restavèk about their treatment of the children, challenging the assumptions that many of them grew up with.

Another level of awareness raising is happening within communities, encouraging members to involve themselves in the children’s well-being. Helia explained KOFAVIV’s work in this regard. “We’re getting neighbors to know they have a responsibility. We say, if you hear someone beating a child in their home, go tell them to stop. Tell them, ‘This is a human being and you need to treat them well.’ When we can’t confront the person directly because we’re worried about what will happen to the child as a result, we put a tape recorder outside the violator’s window to record them beating the child, then we take that tape to the radio station. The family hears it on the radio and hopefully gets ashamed and gets a different level of understanding about its treatment of the child.

“We’re seeing people change the way they’re treating restavèkchildren,” she said.

A fourth strategy is to work for improvement of the economy, especially in the rural areas which are home to unmitigated poverty, to undermine the incentive behind giving children away. On this issue, anti-restavèk activists are joined by peasant farmer and allied movements, which are working to prioritize rural agriculture so that small farmers can have an adequate livelihood. The movements are also calling for the decentralization of services and budgetary expenditures, in part to create good schooling for children. Although primary school is supposed to be free and compulsory, even before the earthquake, 55 percent of school-aged children were not going to school.[4] And what schooling does exist in rural areas offers notoriously poor education.

A fifth strategy involves direct intervention to nurture restavèkchildren. This not only restores wounded and neglected young victims, but also helps break the stranglehold of the system. TheRestavèk Freedom Foundation, for example, employs nine child advocates who partner and meet regularly with children, encourage the restavèk families to allow these children to go to school and finances school fees and uniforms.

Changing the national system is a painfully slow process. “We now have more people who consider child servitude a crime.” said Guerda, “But at the same time it’s like there are so many children and there are so many things we [advocates] have to do, sometimes you don’t feel like anything happens in a kid’s life.”

Yet, change is occurring, thanks to these small, but dedicated organizations. These groups are increasingly organized and united. The Down with the Restavèk System (ASR by its Creole acronym) network, born out of a 2000 conference sponsored by the Fondasyon Limyè Lavi and the US-based Beyond Borders, is one network connecting the relevant groups.

Helia said, “It’s an enormous struggle, but just like I’ve learned and am speaking out, everyone will become aware this system has to end.”

For more information and to become involved in creating a slavery-free Haiti, check out the following (partial) list of groups.
Beyond Borders (US) and Limyè Lavi Foundation (Haiti) work in partnership for a national child rights movement to demand the Haitian government take a stand against the exploitation of children. They also educate parents about the dangers of therestavèk system, mobilize and connect grassroots groups working on the issue and address the root causes: the poverty and lack of quality education in rural areas, which prompt parents to send their children away. Together, the groups have also hosted conferences, marches and, in 2008 and 2009, a National Day against Child Servitude. They also coordinate ASR.

The Commission of Women Victim to Victim (KOFAVIV) is an organization of former restavèk and rape survivors who have banded together to ensure that no child or woman ever again experience these horrors. KOFAVIV engages in advocacy; provides support to children at risk; and publicizes the brutality of the system through community meetings, trainings, public marches and media campaigns. KOFAVIV has no web site, but many articles about their work can be found in this column series.

The Restavèk Freedom Foundation, formerly the Jean Robert Cadet Restavèk Foundation, focuses on working with the families who keep restavèk to change the way they treat children and to encourage them to send the children to school. The foundation pays for the children’s education and otherwise watches over their needs and builds awareness of the problem within Haiti and globally.

Texas Textbook War: “Slavery” or “Atlantic Triangular Trade”?

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Oldspeak:  Among the proposed changes: Students would be required to learn about the “unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society, and would need to study conservative icons like Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, and the Moral Majority. The slave trade would be renamed the “Atlantic triangular trade,” American “imperialism” changed to “expansionism,” and all references to “capitalism” have been replaced with “free enterprise.”  Behold! The Ministry of Truth 2010.

From Amanda Paulson  @ The Christian Science Monitor:

Thomas Jefferson out, Phyllis Schlafly in?

While the proposed changes to Texas social studies standards aren’t quite so simple (and contrary to some reports, Thomas Jefferson would still be part of the curriculum), the debate over the standards pushed by a conservative majority of the Texas Board of Education – which will be voted on this week – has resulted in a partisan uproar and generated interest far beyond the Lone Star State.

Conservatives say that the changes are a long-overdue correction to a curriculum that too often deemphasizes religion and caters to liberal views. Critics are dismayed at what they see as an attempt to push conservative ideology – even if it flies in the face of scholarship – into textbooks. And with a textbook industry that is often influenced by the standards in the largest states, there is a chance that the changes have influence beyond Texas.

“Decisions that are made in Texas have a ripple effect across the country,” says Phillip VanFossen, head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and a professor of social studies education at Purdue University.

Still, he notes, as the pendulum swings toward national standards – which have yet to be developed for social studies – that influence might wane. Just in case, California this week passed a bill out of a Senate committee that would ensure no California textbooks contain any Texas-driven changes. Conservatives dominate Texas Board of Education

The root of the uproar is a regular process in which the Texas Board of Education revises the state’s standards. Far more than in most states, the elected board is entrusted to write standards itself, rather than merely approve them. With a 10-5 Republican majority, including a coalition of seven social conservatives, the board has pushed what some see as a particularly partisan agenda.

Among the changes: Students would be required to learn about the “unintended consequences” of Title IX, affirmative action, and the Great Society, and would need to study conservative icons like Phyllis Schlafly, the Heritage Foundation, and the Moral Majority.

The slave trade would be renamed the “Atlantic triangular trade,” American “imperialism” changed to “expansionism,” and all references to “capitalism” have been replaced with “free enterprise.”

The role of Thomas Jefferson – who argued for the separation of church and state – is minimized in several places, and the standards would emphasize the degree to which the Founding Fathers were driven by Christian principles.

“In the 18 months that the state board has worked on these standards, they’ve struck a balance that our members feel will give public school students a fuller and stronger appreciation of the religious and cultural roots of American history,” says Brent Connett, a policy analyst with the Texas Conservative Coalition, which released a letter this week calling on the board to approve the standards and to ignore calls for delay.

But others say they are dismayed at the degree to which the standards seem to have been written without regard for scholarship.

Professor VanFossen, for instance, was bothered by a new requirement that students analyze the decline in value of the US dollar and abandonment of the gold standard, without input from economists, and by amendments that would try to cast a more positive spin on Sen. Joe McCarthy’s communist witch hunt.

“It’s ideologically driven,” he says, adding that he’s also bothered that many of the most important skills students need to learn – debate and discussion, constructing arguments, reconciling different perspectives – are being lost amid the highly proscriptive and detailed content.

Others say that whether or not national textbooks are ultimately influenced by Texas (the textbook industry has sought to downplay that fear), the furor that this has caused will be detrimental to future attempts to create standards. ‘No one wants to touch social studies’

“No one wants to touch social studies,” says Peggy Altoff, past president of the National Council for the Social Studies and co-chair of the committee that set social studies standards in Colorado.

Ms. Altoff says it doesn’t have to be such a political, partisan process, and cites Colorado’s experience as an example. Since often what stokes peoples’ anger the most is who is included for study – Cesar Chavez or Newt Gingrich; Thurgood Marshall or Thomas Aquinas – she suggests standards that offer examples, but don’t limit curricula to those figures.

“It doesn’t have to be the Texas debacle,” she says.

Whatever the vote is this week, the conservative influence on the board may be waning.

Don McLeroy, the author of many of the most contentious amendments and a leader of the conservative coalition, was defeated in March in a primary by an opponent who was critical of his approach. Another key social conservative, Cynthia Dunbar, is not seeking reelection, and a more moderate candidate won the GOP primary in her district.